Minister for Horticulture, Raman Bhalla informed the House that 40 to 70 percent losses were caused to the fruit crops of Kashmir pision due to hailstorm and natural calamities, adding that no losses has occurred to the fruit crops in Jammu pision due to hailstorm during the current fiscal.Replying to a question by M. Y. Tarigami, the Minister said that 60 to 70% damages were caused in Kulgam and Qaimoh areas, 50% in Baramulla, more than 50% in Wattergam, Lasser, Achabal and Chijhama due to hailstorm. He said 50% damages were caused in Shopian, Imam Sahib and Kulgam Yaripora, 50 to 60 % in Harman, Malikgund, Zainavoat and Baderhama. While as 55% losses to the fruit crops in Chrar-i-Sharief, besides 40 to 50% damages were caused to the fruit crops in Anantnag, Shangus and Chagun.The Minister said that damage report of Kulgam district for providing relief to the fruit growers have been submitted to the District Development Commissioner by Chief Horticulture Officers and compensation would be paid as per provisions of Natural Calamity Relief Fund by Revenue Department.
The Minister said that Enforcement Wing of Agriculture Department is authorized for sampling of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and these samples are sent to designated laboratories for testing. He said in case of negative reports the defaulters are booked under the relevant Acts.Bhalla said that fruit and vegetable markets are being established in different areas to facilitate growers for better prices besides minimized the role of middle men. He informed that at present 3 terminal markets, 10 satellite markets and 1 Apni mandi are functioning in the State, adding that development of 10 satellite markets, 1 terminal and 8 Apni Mandis is in progress in the State.The Minister informed that land has been allocated through SIDCO to different entrepreneurs for running old chain storage in Kashmir valley. He said at present 3 plants running in SIDCO complex Lassipora have cold chain facilities catering to a capacity of 15000 MTs.
Bhalla said that quality control of the fruits is being maintained by Enforcement Directorate of Agriculture Department. He said, however, in the field agencies, Subject Matter Specialists are invested with the powers of pesticides inspectors, who operate in adequate numbers in both the pision of the State.Not satisfied with the reply to the above questions, Tarigami while raising supplementary said that there is no effective mechanism in place to control spurious chemicals and pesticides. He said that it only exist on papers and demanded through investigation into this serious matter to fix the responsibility.Tarigami said that people associated with the horticulture activities are in a state of sorrow and distress as most of the apple crop is destroyed due to scab, alternaria and hailstorm and urged the government for initiating practical measures to provide timely relief to the affected growers. (CNS)